Well-traveled artist and jewelry designer Bodil Lund talks about her inspiration and business.
ABI: You’ve traveled extensively throughout your life. How has that affected your jewelry design?
BL: Growing up in Sweden my family taught me the joy and wonder of traveling. We would summer on the northern shores of Denmark, where my sister and I would play along the beaches. The treasures we found – sea glass and small stones shaped into hearts by the sea – spoke to me then, and still do.
As an adult I have had the good fortune to spend time in the Virgin Islands, Sanibel, and Hawaii. For many years, I operated my own travel agency and helped others find their paradise on earth. Though I continue to travel, the transition into jewelry making has been a natural evolution. It has given me the opportunity to share my found treasures – organic, colorful, and intentionally imperfect – into meaningful and memorable pieces of art.
Believing in responsible consumption of natural resources, reclaimed sterling silver is used, and all my work is made in the USA. In addition, a portion of all sales will be donated to Ocean Conservancy – clean beaches, clean water – as the sea is my first love, travel my second.
ABI: How many ways are you selling your jewelry?
BL: Since 2007 my work has been sold online through my website, in retail establishments, and a few annual art shows.
A portion of my business is custom work; often recycling gold, silver and gemstones. I adore the design process of jointly creating a new sentimental piece from well loved items.
I have now ventured into the wholesale arena. Two of my collections -Heart Stones, and Sea Glass- are available for purchase, with four more collections in process – Micro Mosaics, Sapphires, Woodland, and Sand.
This January 16-19, 2015 I will be taking part in The American Made Show in DC, where retailers shop for handcrafted American made products.
ABI: How has your business background helped you succeed in selling jewelry?
BL: The business side is almost as much fun for me as jewelry making.
Nineteen years in the travel industry, the last five spent operating my own agency, required me to write monthly reports and adhere to a strict P&L. I continue this same practice for my jewelry business. This ensures that I remain profitable, as well as continue the slow and steady growth required to reach my goals.
ABI: What is your best advice for artists starting a business?
BL: Earlier this year I started a small business group. We meet monthly to provide feedback on current projects, problem solve, and generally support each other in achieving our individual goals. I find this invaluable, as being an artist requires time spent alone.
I would suggest finding a group of likeminded individuals you trust to give honest feedback, and be a friendly sounding board for your ideas. Also, write a simple business plan with quantifiable goals that will assist you in knowing exactly where you are on your road to success.